Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Brighter World and New Projects

Firstly, my cataract surgery last Tuesday went smoothly and I was amazed at how different the world looked, even as DH drove me home after the procedure. If I shut my left eye and looked out of my right eye (the eye that had just been operated on) everything looked "clean" and already distance vision was improved. On the other hand, looking only through my left eye, the world appeared yellow-ish, as if there were a yellow filter over that eye.

The next day, at my one-day check-up, I was able to see 20-30 through my right eye, and the Dr. was very pleased with how good my eye looked. I asked him about the color change between the two eyes and he said that cataracts are yellow, so looking through a cataract is just like having a yellow filter. A-ha! Later that same day I was out back with Clem and saw twigs (!) on our big ash tree! I haven't seen twigs (except close-up) for years... I go to see my regular eye-doctor in two days and if all looks well, we may be able to schedule the second cataract surgery for two or three weeks off. I can't wait!!!!

Last week I ordered yarn for two projects... The Pirate Hat yarn came already, but the needles aren't here yet - rats! The pattern can be found here - thanks to Adrian Bazilia at Hello Yarn! for sharing it. The mittens are called Sea Mineral Mittens - I first saw them here, and the pattern is free on Ravelry. I ordered KP's Palette yarn in a colorway similar to Nanette's. (Her blog, by the way, is chock full of information about stranded knitting, gloves, mittens - and she has several highly-reviewed booklets and pamphlets for sale - check it out.)
I'm still (still!) working on the ribbing for the first Anne sock, and have done most of one repeat of the snowflake pattern for my Snowflake Shawl. (Not anything to brag about, as the pattern is only eight rows - but each repeat of the pattern increases the stitch count on the needle by eight stitches...I don't even know how many stitches are on the needle right now, but it seems like a lot.)
It snowed again last night, and today is all drippy and sloppy. I'm not going to complain too much, though, because we're supposed to get an Arctic blast out of Canada this coming week, with night-time temps in the teens. Brrrrr!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Backyard Birds

I always go out back when Clem goes out for his periodic potty breaks, and one day last week while I was sitting in the cold waiting for Clem, I heard a "new" (to me) bird somewhere in the area. I listened and listened and tried to whistle back to the bird, and looked and looked and never did spot him/her. Then a few days lataer, DD came outside with me and she spotted a Big Blue Bird on the fence. My eyesight is so poor right now that I could not distinguish any features - except that it was, indeed a big bird and it was blue. (Cataract surgery tomorrow on my right eye! Yay!)

Could this be the bird I had heard? I came inside to the computer and went here. I was pretty sure that the bird must be a Jay bird, but didn't know which kind of Jay bird. I typed "jay" into the search box and then checked out all the different Jay birds. Each bird "page" has a map showing the bird's range, along with other facts - one of the best features is - there are recordings of the bird-calls with each bird. Using this wonderful feature I found out that our Big Blue Bird was a Steller's Jay. He/she stayed around off and on all day, flitting from the fence to the ground, peckng for goodies, then back up to the fence. I have only seen one Jay bird around here once before and that was probably five years ago or more.

I really am excited about getting my cataracts removed. I opted for the "enhanced" surgery - so if all goes well, after both eyes are fixed I should have very good distance vision and only need to wear glasses for reading. I am very near-sighted and have worn glasses since I was about 11 years old. (I clearly remember my fascination, after getting my first pair of glasses, with being able to see individual leaves on trees! I knew of course that those big green blobs (trees) had leaves, but had never thought about being able to distinguish them, one by one.)

On the knitting front, I am still working on the ribbing for the "Anne" socks. Another inch or so and I'll change to #3 needles to finish the leg.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A New Sock and A New Friend

So, there's the new sock - with the heel just completed. Some ankle rows and then a ribbed (2 x 2) leg and the first one will be done. The yarn is Schaefer Yarn "Anne", 60 % Merino Wool Superwash, 25% Mohair and 15% Nylon - I bought it here. I think I bought way too much yarn: each skein has 560 yards in it and I bought two skeins. (I have BIG feet, so I'm always paranoid about not having enough yarn...) I'm more than half way through this first sock and the first yarn-cake (one skein) still seems pretty hefty.
I'm knitting these socks on size 2 (the larger size 2) Harmony Wood dpns. Did I say how much I love Harmony Wood needles from Knit Picks?
On a completely non-knitting subject, above is a picture of Clem, my new Puppy Dog. (We just got him the weekend before Thanksgiving.) I used to have a half-scottie dog named Annabelle. When she died a few years ago, I knew that someday I wanted a lap dog... In the meantime, we baby-sat several big dogs for various friends of our kids, and when the latest one went back to her family, I began looking in earnest for "my" lap-dog. I haunted the local Humane Society and read the classified ads religiously. No small dogs at the Humane Society (over a period of several months) and all the dogs/puppies in the paper were way expensive. Then, there was an ad for a seven-month old Chihuahua for $100...I hadn't thought that I wanted a Chihuahua, but I thought "Why not? I'll just go look." Well, when the lady brought Clem out to meet me, I just fell plumb in love!
It turned out that she had a kennel and raised long-haired Chihuahuas, and then her geographical area got annexed into a nearby community and that community doesn't allow kennel licenses. She had to either move (in a ridiculously short time) or get rid of all her dogs but three... The seven-month-old in the newspaper ad was already gone, but she still had Clem left and, like I said, I loved him at first sight.
He is a character - the heart of a lion and the bladder of a Great Dane. When I take him outside first thing every morning, his first pee lasts a very long time! He is fiercely protective of me - to the point that he doesn't like it when DH gives me a kiss! And, DH wants to play and cuddle with Clem, but Clem won't have anything to do with him. I'm hoping Clem will mellow out in time.

Yesterday I gritched about the weather - all that melting and dripping. Well, today our back yard is nearly free of snow and I swear there's new green grass out there! The birds have been numerous and noisy all day! Our neighbor's back-yard Oak trees and our Ash tree have been full of robins all day and our Juniper "Bird Tree" has been so noisy that you can hardly hear yourself think when you go out back.
I hate to say it, but I'm thinking Spring - and I know better! January is, after all, a six-month-long purgatory, where Spring is too distant to even dream about.

Friday, January 11, 2008's been awhile...

It's been so long since I've posted, I'm wondering if I can remember how to do it... So far so good - I remembered how to sign in to blogger :-)

It's January. Ugh. I had a friend (God rest her soul) who loved January. She saw it as the clean-slate month and liked the idea of "a fresh start" and "new beginnings". Nope, not me. For me, January is like a six-month-long purgatory while I wait for February. Actually, February isn't all that much better...but at least in February you can more easily anticipate Spring and warm weather.

We've had more snow this month than last year's total. I do love to watch the snow come down - but really hate the melting-off stage. Today is one of those melting, dripping days.

Knitting? Right now I have two projects "actively" on the needles. One is a triangular shawl found here. I call it my snowflake shawl : Knit Pick's Alpaca Cloud (lace weight) in the Iris color, needles - Harmony wood cable needles, size 6 (I LOVE the harmony wood needles from Knit Pick's) . (Yep, that's the same yarn I used when starting two or three other lace projects that fizzled. I ended up having to throw away some of the yarn at the beginning of the yarn cake because I had frogged it so much that it was pretty wonky. Oh sigh.)
I'll save the other on-the-needles project for another day. I've forgotten how to position my pics within the text of the post. Drat!